2019-03-08 / Community

In the Know

Town contributes to playground project

The town of Cape Elizabeth is contributing $50,000 toward fundraising to upgrade the Pond Cove School playground.

Town councilors voted a $50,000 appropriation from undesignated funds on Feb. 11, with a possible matching grant of up to $50,000 before the end of this fiscal year.

Garden Circle resident Lauren Glennon, representing the Pond Cove Playground Committee, a nonprofit organized to raise funds for the playground, said the contribution will seed and encourage the group’s efforts to reach its $300,000 goal.

“One of the first questions we get with all funders is, will the town have a role in this and will the town support it? It will be to the benefit of our campaign and the project to be able to say ‘yes’,” Glennon said.

The $300,000 goal includes a $25,000 maintenance fund, “to ensure that the playground will be cared for and continue serving incoming classes in the community for years to come,” she said.

As early as 2014 school officials determined that the 20-year-old Pond Cove playground and 12-year-old outdoor classroom were in disrepair and needed upgrades for safety and to allow for better supervision, Glennon said. In 2015, with support from the Pond Cove Parents Association and Cape Elizabeth Education Foundation and input from staff and students, local architect Sashie Misner designed a three-section playground and adventure-play area. In 2017 the school board appropriated up to $50,000 in unspent capital improvement funds to remove unsafe equipment and other stopgap safety measures as a first-phase of the design.

“The build of this playground design was included in subsequent school budgets but due to state funding cuts over the past three years the playground build was continuously cut,” Glennon said.

In 2018 the school board and town council authorized fundraising for the playground.

In addition to the town funding, the committee is planning fundraising events and has solicited contributions from other community sources as well as regional and national grants.

Plans are to begin construction with available funds once school lets out in June, Glennon said. The committee is hopeful that the entire project can be completed at once rather than phased over years.

“We’re buoyed by the responses we’re getting from our first round of conversations with local businesses and individuals and look forward to being able to fill out that list with actual commitments and publicize it,” Glennon said.

Jamie Garvin, council chairman, brought the funding to the council at a January workshop, where there was consensus to consider the recommendation. Jeremy Gabrielson, another councilor, commended the committee for taking on the project.

“It’s no small undertaking,” he said.

Grant accepted for town-center sidewalk

Cape Elizabeth has accepted a $450,000 grant from the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System to help complete sidewalks in the southern part of the town center.

The amount represents the town’s portion of a grant awarded to Cape Elizabeth and the cities of Portland and South Portland for infrastructure improvements.

An annual goal of the council for this and for the past several years has been to collaborate with other communities, Town Manager Matthew Sturgis said at a Feb. 11 meeting of the council.

“I think if we otherwise hadn’t collaborated with our fellow communities (of Portland and South Portland) we would not have had the ability to receive these funds,” Sturgis said.

The grant includes a 25 percent match from the town’s Tax Increment Financing account, funded by taxes on new development in the town center. The fund’s anticipated balance is $104,000 as of July 1. The remainder of the match will come from the sidewalk account.

The sidewalks slated for construction front the Pond Cove Shopping Center and properties south of the C-Salt Market to the intersection with Fowler Road.

Sidewalk construction in the town center is recommended in the town-center plans of 1993 and 2014. Pedestrian safety and improved walkability in town has also consistently been a town council goal.

Boat storage lottery is March 14 in Cape

Applications for seasonal boat storage at Great Pond for Cape Elizabeth residents for the 2019 season will be accepted at the town office beginning Feb. 14.

The Conservation Committee will assign boat storage slots by lottery. Any resident who would like to store a boat at Great Pond should submit an application by March 14 to the Assessing/Codes/Planning office manager at town hall. Those interested may apply online or download a .

Those who received a permit for the 2018 season and did not store a boat will only be eligible for a slot if supply exceeds demands.

One application per household may be submitted.

Thirty-two applications will be drawn at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 18, in the ACP Conference Room, town hall. Winners will be notified and will have until March 29 to pay for the 2019 Boat Storage Permit ($20). Any permits remaining after March 29 will be distributed in a second drawing from the original application pool.

Permit holders are expected to begin storing a boat by July 4.

At the end of this boat storage season, all permit holders will be required to remove their boat from the rack. Permit holders are expected to use the rack for boat storage. Unused space may be reallocated to a new permit holder.

Cape has opening on Conservation Committee

The Cape Elizabeth Town Council Appointments Committee is accepting applications from residents to fill a vacancy on the Conservation Committee. The opening is for an unexpired term to end Dec. 31, 2020.

Applications may be filled out on the town website, be obtained at town hall, or by contacting Debra Lane, assistant town manager at debra.lane@capeelizabeth.org or 799-7665.

School board votes to include assessment

The Cape Elizabeth School Board on Feb. 12 voted to include $189,060 for a facilities-needs assessment in its 2019-2020 budget proposal.

The vote came after a presentation from Colby Co. Engineering outlining the scope of the assessment, which was recommended by a citizen Facilities Needs Assessment Committee that met this fall to determine the need for a formal assessment.

The scope of the assessment includes:

 Field investigations of existing buildings and utilities to determine their current status ($56,718).

 A series of meetings with a project team and a separate building committee, stakeholder interviews and public presentations ($37,812).

 A needs-assessment report based on the field investigations and meetings, categorizing recommended projects as critical, intermediate and low priority ($95,530).

The report will not define costs, but “it will give the town and school board is a very comprehensive list of recommended projects,” said Seth Wilschutz, lead designer with Scott Simonds Architects. The list would be prioritized starting with code requirements, then by input derived from meetings and interviews included in the proposal:

 Four meetings with the project team, consisting of the superintendent, town manager, school board, town council, finance department and/or facilities department representatives, for regular project updates.

 Five meetings with a larger building committee, similar in size to the Facilities Needs Assessment Committee and representing the superintendent’s office, town hall, school board, town council, students, staff and the public, to gather more input and help establishing priorities.

 Four public presentations, likely at a meeting or workshop of the school board, town council or both, to share information with the community and gather more input.

 Five stakeholder interviews with students, staff and teachers from each of Cape Elizabeth’s three schools to gauge current facility challenges, desired improvements and ask, “What would your ideal classroom look like?” All responses would be documented and summarized into publicly accessible minutes, said James Hebert, project manager with Colby Company.

The backbone of the needs-assessment report will be the data sheets completed for each project area after the field investigations, Hebert said.

– Information compiled from the town of Cape Elizabeth website.

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